Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bangladesh ambitious plan to reach Vitamin A to 19mi children

SALEEM SAMAD

Bangladesh in an ambitious plan will dispense of Vitamin A doses to nearly 19 million children aged below five years from Sunday.

In a nationwide campaign, thousands of volunteers, also school students will provide life-saving Vitamin A supplements to combat chronic deficiency, which cause night blindness, a sign of severe malnutrition.

Health workers and volunteers from 150,000 health centers, schools, and buses, country boats and train stations will also distribute de-worming tablets to 17 million children aged between two and five to reduce child growth retardation, writes bdnews24.com.

Apart from night blindness, vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of diseases like measles and diarrhea, both contributing to more than a third of child deaths in Bangladesh.

An estimated vitamin A doses annually save the lives of more than 30,000 children in Bangladesh, said Prof. Fatima Parveen Chowdhury, director of the Institute of Public Health Nutrition.

Quoting a national nutrition survey, the health official argues that night blindness among children has significantly declined from 3.7 percent two decades ago to 0.04 percent.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and politics. He has recently returned from exile after living in Canada for six years. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com